By Art Beitchman

By virtue of the fact that the Sixers traded up last June to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in the draft, the 19-year-old rookie was under intense scrutiny when the season started.

Then he missed 68 games with a still a mysterious shoulder muscle injury.

Two weeks ago Fultz was activated and has played back-up to Ben Simmons at PG and has done an admirable job, given the circumstances.

He has shot 17-for-39 from the field, mostly on quick bursts to the rack, has pulled up for short jump shots with some accuracy.

Fultz has picked teams apart as a passer — his poise as a ball handler has translated to the NBA level, even as reserve getting 14-20 minutes off Brett Brown’s bench.

Not putting too much on the still 19 year old Fultz is the smart move as the regular season winds down.

Many fans and media members have given Fultz much heat for the injury, and start to his NBA career as a player the Sixers went up in the draft to get.

Even with all those obstacles Fultz has navigated, he’s still a very talented combo guard that will have the opportunity for much more growth. He no doubt will get some minutes in the upcoming playoffs as Simmons replacement running the point.

With an off season, summer league and training camp ahead for the now healthy Fultz, the young talent can gradually grow into the NBA player the 76ers organization picked in last year’s draft with an abundance of natural skills.



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